We all got our first taste of rookie pass rusher Melvin Ingram a week ago in the preseason opener against the Green Bay Packers and it was delicious. Every element of his game is appealing: from the way he gets to the edge and beats tackles to the spot to his relentless pursuit of plays into the secondary. There is something to be said for a player with that drive, that inner-intensity that Ingram exhibits and it is undoubtedly exciting to watch.
While we as fans were energized by Ingram’s performance, his teammates weren’t exempt from the enthusiasm either. Veteran cornerback Quentin Jammer answered a question about Ingram saying: "Did I watch him? Everyone on our sideline was watching him."
That’s the thing about a player of Ingram’s intensity, it’s infectious. He boosts the energy level of everyone around him by flying to the ball or hustling to track down guys in the open field. If a team gets enough players giving as much effort as Ingram and pouring every ounce of their energy toward one goal, the defense as a whole will see a significant boost in the upcoming season.
Coaches always marvel over newly drafted players and give praise to their strong suits, but the veterans in the locker room are much more difficult to win over. That is why Jammer’s compliments resound when he says of Ingram: "In this game, you always need someone to get after the quarterback. I know that's why we targeted him, but I think he's been even better than what was expected. You should see him at practice. He can straight bull-rush linemen or get around you with a serious spin move. He'll make a huge contribution. This guy is an absolute monster — big, strong and fast, and he has a motor on him beyond what you'd expect. Most guys who rush don't have all of those attributes."
Admiration like this isn’t just thrown around casually by players of Jammer’s stature. It has to be earned and clearly Ingram doesn’t have any problem with that. His work ethic is second to none and he is always looking for ways to improve both himself and the team.
Along with Jammer and several of his other teammates, Ingram said that he actually impressed himself a little. The pass rusher extraordinaire said: "This was my opportunity to play against higher-caliber guys with more strength and speed. I was happy with how it went, because it didn't seem too difficult."
His coaches know that having that constant presence of a pass rush will help the defense out a great deal when it comes to the regular season. Head Coach Norv Turner said: "When this defense has been at its best, we've had multiple players playing well at the outside linebacker position. Ingram can be part of the mix of the guys we have. He can learn from them."
Last year’s defense was terrible at getting off of the field on third down and those issues stemmed from an inability to apply pressure on the opposing QB. Adding Ingram is an instant solution to those problems from a year ago and gives the team a real fixture at the pass rushing spot for years to come.
When he was drafted by the Bolts, the entire organization quietly celebrated as they knew they had landed a special talent. What separates Ingram from most though is his attitude and his insatiable desire to get better day after day. According to him: "I just know that I need to keep getting better in every aspect of the game. You can never be too good."
Having that type of an outlook is very unlike a rookie. His maturity level will serve him well during his rookie year and on an even larger scale, through the inevitable ups and downs of his career in the NFL. The potential is clearly there and the Chargers organization has every reason to be excited about what this young man brings to the table. His innate desire to improve and hold himself to super high standards can only breed good things for his future and the entire Chargers defense.
Now it’s your turn! What did you think of Quentin Jammer’s reaction to Melvin Ingram’s performance in his first preseason action? Are you impressed with the way Ingram has won over the approval of the locker room so quickly? Do you think his attitude and intensity will infiltrate the rest of the guys on the defense? Will the Chargers be better on third downs this year thanks to the addition of Ingram? What do you see as the ceiling for Ingram’s career potential with the Bolts? Please fill up the comments section below with your input!
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